What is Profit Center Marketing?

by Debra Andrews | June 7, 2018

The CEO of one of my clients always says, “If a company isn’t growing, it’s dying.” That might be a little dire if your company is having an off-year, but it does make sense to focus on growth as an outcome. Can you think of a company that just rocks their growth numbers year after year? How do they do it? What makes them so special? We believe it’s because these high-growth companies practice Profit Center Marketing.

How do we define Profit Center Marketing?

Profit Center Marketing is a systematic approach to integrating strategies, processes, technologies, and talent in a highly scalable way to attract, nurture, and close ideal prospective buyers and engage existing customers in order to meet aggressive growth objectives. If that just zoomed right over your head, read on! We’ll break down the key elements of our definition of Profit Center Marketing, the secret formula for fast growth.

From Scattershot to Systematic

Companies that achieve consistently high growth understand from the get-go that marketing isn’t a cheap, short-term fling. They build their programs proactively and strategically, brick by brick. Dollars and hours are precious commodities that are applied according to an integrated plan. Hitting the pause button is never a consideration as Profit Center Marketing demands a steady pace, even during tough times. We recently put together a strategic marketing plan for a company that came to us after experiencing declining revenues due to a repositioning gone awry. The owners loved the plan and commented on the level of complexity and detail. It gave them hope for a better business future and they were psyched to begin. Unfortunately, their fear-based need for a quick marketing fix led to a surprising turn of events. Instead of commencing a thoughtful roll-out of the marketing plan, they decided to pause the Profit Center Marketing journey and channel all their resources (i.e., talent and dollars) into a single campaign they had conceived internally over the course of a month.

Scattershot marketing is like playing the lottery, as the chances of hitting the motherload are low. This was especially the case of this company, which was already experiencing brand confusion and defection. To realize sustainable, high growth, companies must embrace systematic approaches and processes over time.

The Four Pillars of Profit Center Marketing

In addition to taking a systematic approach to marketing, companies that experience high growth successfully build and integrate what Marketri calls the Four Pillars of Profit Center Marketing: Strategy, Talent, Technology, and Processes. Profit Center Marketing requires the successful construction of each pillar – starting with Strategy.


When we work with clients looking to move up and to the right, we always begin with marketing due diligence, goal setting, and strategy, which inform how to construct the other pillars. If we don’t start with strategy, we can see a variety of negative outcomes. For example, when companies focus on talent before strategy, companies can end up employing professionals with the wrong skillsets for their goals. If they put technology first, they can implement expensive, underutilized marketing and sales platforms, which quickly become unnecessary overhead. The biggest complaint we hear from CEOs is, “We’re spending money on marketing, and it’s just not working.” When companies struggle with revenue growth, the culprit is almost always a gaping hole where the Strategy pillar should stand.


The plan for employing marketing Talent should flow directly from the Strategy. High-growth companies don’t adopt a “jack of all trades, master of none,” approach to staffing. Instead, they invest in qualified and specialized marketing talent that complements their strategy. They often find the perfect balance of in-house and outsourced professionals (including Fractional CMOs). As these companies grow and their strategies shift, they are proactive in evolving the marketing team to fit new needs. Marketri finds that in-house marketing professionals need to grow into more specialized roles as companies gain marketing sophistication and are generating demand for their products and services. We often help with structuring and re-structuring marketing teams throughout the Profit Center Marketing Journey.


Fast growth requires scale, and marketing Technology is often the way to do it. High-growth companies always maximize their investments in expensive marketing technology. How do they do it when so many others fail? It’s simple, they build the Strategy and Talent pillars first. Here’s an example: a company creates a strategy that specifies target markets. Because they need full-funnel content for these target markets to position the company as thought leaders and create leads and demand, they partner with an agency that specializes in content marketing and the use of the marketing automation technology. With the Strategy and Talent in place, the Technology makes sense. It helps them serve-up exactly what prospective buyers want to consume at each stage in their buying journeys.


The final pillar embraced by companies on the fast track and necessary to practice Profit Center Marketing is the development of best practice Processes. Many companies skip over this pillar, but I’m not sure why. Firms that try to accelerate growth without detailed marketing best practice Processes will make costly mistakes and fail to proactively measure, refine, and optimize campaigns and programs. They’ll ultimately hit a point where the lack of Processes will create a crisis of inefficiency and consistency. The Process pillar brings efficiency and scale and allows the pace of growth to be fast without fear of missteps, wasted time, and dollars.

Are you leading a company looking for high growth?

Embrace Profit Center Marketing and shoot for the Inc. 5000, a future liquidity event, or even a public offering. Marketri’s Fractional CMO services guide goal-oriented companies along the Profit Center Marketing journey. Contact us to learn more about our approach to modern marketing and how we can help. If you’re interested in learning more about marketing, then we invite you to subscribe to our blog for updates whenever we publish a new post.